September 25, 2011 Healing Sunday
Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost
FIRST READING: Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32
The LORD said:
2Ezekiel, I hear the people ofIsrael using the old saying,
“Sour grapes eaten by parents leave a sour taste
in the mouths of their children.”
3Now tell them that I am the LORD God, and as surely as I live, that saying will no longer be used in Israel. 4The lives of all people belong to meparents as well as children. Only those who sin will be put to death.
25You people of Israel accuse me of being unfair! But listenI’m not unfair; you are! 26If good people start doing evil, they must be put to death, because they have sinned. 27And if wicked people start doing right, they will save themselves from punishment. 28They will think about what they’ve done and stop sinning, and so they won’t be put to death. 29But you still say that I am unfair. You are the ones who have done wrong and are unfair!
30I will judge each of you for what you’ve done. So stop sinning, or else you will certainly be punished. 31Give up your evil ways and start thinking pure thoughts. And be faithful to me! Do you really want to be put to death for your sins? 32I, the LORD God, don’t want to see that happen to anyone. So stop sinning and live!
PSALMODY: Psalm 25:1-9
1I offer you my heart, LORD God, 2and I trust you.
Don’t make me ashamed or let enemies defeat me.
3Don’t disappoint any of your worshipers,
but disappoint all deceitful liars.
4Show me your paths and teach me to follow;
5guide me by your truth and instruct me.
You keep me safe, and I always trust you.
6Please, LORD, remember,
you have always been patient and kind.
7Forget each wrong I did when I was young.
Show how truly kind you are and remember me.
8You are honest and merciful,
and you teach sinners how to follow your path.
9You lead humble people to do what is right
and to stay on your path.
SECOND READING: Philippians 2:1-13
Christ encourages you, and his love comforts you. God’s Spirit unites you, and you are concerned for others. 2Now make me completely happy! Live in harmony by showing love for each other. Be united in what you think, as if you were only one person. 3Don’t be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves. 4Care about them as much as you care about yourselves 5and think the same way that Christ Jesus thought:
6Christ was truly God.
But he did not try to remain equal with God.
7He gave up everything and became a slave,
when he became like one of us.
8Christ was humble. He obeyed God
and even died on a cross.
9Then God gave Christ the highest place
and honored his name above all others.
10So at the name of Jesus everyone will bow down,
those in heaven, on earth, and under the earth.
11And to the glory of God the Father
everyone will openly agree,
“Jesus Christ is Lord!”
12My dear friends, you always obeyed when I was with you. Now that I am away, you should obey even more. So work with fear and trembling to discover what it really means to be saved. 13God is working in you to make you willing and able to obey him.
GOSPEL: Matthew 21:23-32
23Jesus had gone into the temple and was teaching when the chief priests and the leaders of the people came up to him. They asked, “What right do you have to do these things? Who gave you this authority?”
24Jesus answered, “I have just one question to ask you. If you answer it, I will tell you where I got the right to do these things. 25Who gave John the right to baptize? Was it God in heaven or merely some human being?”
They thought it over and said to each other, “We can’t say that God gave John this right. Jesus will ask us why we didn’t believe John. 26On the other hand, these people think that John was a prophet, and we are afraid of what they might do to us. That’s why we can’t say that it was merely some human who gave John the right to baptize.” 27So they told Jesus, “We don’t know.”
Jesus said, “Then I won’t tell you who gave me the right to do what I do.”
I will tell you a story about a man who had two sons. Then you can tell me what you think. The father went to the older son and said, “Go work in the vineyard today!” 29His son told him that he would not do it, but later he changed his mind and went. 30The man then told his younger son to go work in the vineyard. The boy said he would, but he didn’t go. 31Which one of the sons obeyed his father?
“The older one,” the chief priests and leaders answered.
Then Jesus told them:
You can be sure that tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdomof Godbefore you ever will! 32When John the Baptist showed you how to do right, you would not believe him. But these evil people did believe. And even when you saw what they did, you still would not change your minds and believe.